Published 2:34 p.m. ET March 6, 2019 | Updated 2:35 p.m. ET March 6, 2019
COLUMBUS - Ohio lawmakers were trying to expand access to certain guns, but in their haste, they might have accidentally banned them.
House Bill 228, passed in late December, will force prosecutors to prove a shooter acted in self-defense to pursue charges. The bill also made several changes to Ohio's firearm laws.
One change would have aligned Ohio law with federal law regarding short-barrel weapons. Federal law allows the sales and Ohio law currently doesn't.
Amid the bill's many revisions (language that would have allowed shooters to stand their ground was removed), a paragraph was misplaced. The result: some long guns were inadvertently lumped into a banned category.
So lawmakers introduced a corrective bill and voted to implement it immediately. That way, the fix will take effect before House Bill 228 does on March 28. (Most laws take effect 90 days after they are signed.)
“We had a drafting error where we included certain shotguns and rifles into a dangerous ordnance section. Those clearly do not belong there,” said Rep. Phil Plummer, R-Dayton.
Lawmakers sent the fix to Gov. Mike DeWine with a 23-9 vote in the Ohio Senate Wednesday. The governor is expected to sign the bill.
Still, some lawmakers expressed frustration with the slipshod process that led to the error.
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“This kind of last-minute lawmaking is bad for our democracy,” Rep. Brigid Kelly, D-Hyde Park, said before the Ohio House approved the fix, 76-20. “There are a lot of important issues that we could, and should, be working on in this Legislature and that we haven’t worked on with the same urgency that we’ve seen on this particular bill.”
Kelly cited school funding, health care benefits, retirement benefits and gun safety laws as some examples.
“I’m hoping that we can consider other issues just as expeditiously as have on this one," she said.